FDA to review Hepatitis C medications this week


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said a long-awaited medication to treat Hepatitis C seemingly cures a larger amount of patients in less time required by other drugs that have been around for the past two decades.

But the federal agency still has reservations about how the new drug manufactured by Merck ( MRK ) will work with those other drugs, according to the Associated Press . Boceprevir, about which the FDA is scheduled to meet this Wednesday, represents high hopes after 15 years of probing and research for the 3.2 million people infected by the virus in the U.S.

"The liver has a huge capacity of going about its business until it fails," Dr. Eliav Barr, the vice president for infectious diseases for Merck, told the news service. "So you have chronic damage that gets worse and worse but you yourself can't tell until a fair bit of damage is done."

One day later, the FDA is slated to review the anti-Hepatitis medication manufactured by Vertex Pharmaceuticals ( VRTX ), which is called telaprevir.

The prospects for both telaprevir and boceprevir represent opportunities for the companies to capitalize on sales. The two medications prevent reproduction of the enzyme that enables the hepatitis virus' reproduction.

The older medications fight the virus by enhancing the strength of the immune system.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: News Headlines , Business

Referenced Stocks: MRK , VRTX

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